Written by Mona Sehgal | ValpoLife.com
On the evening of Wednesday, May 27, citizens throughout the region gathered at the United Way of Porter County building in Valparaiso for the United Way Power of Youth’s Power of Giving event. The Power of Giving is in celebration of a year of accomplishments, graduating seniors, and recipients of the Power of Youth Grant for youth self-esteem programs.
Coordinator for the Power of Youth Council of Porter County Mackenna Schon stated, “Today we are here to celebrate the Power of Youth and the organizations that are receiving grants this evening. The students actually raised this money themselves, so that is why this event is extra special. It’s wonderful seeing the younger generation so willingly engage in volunteering.”
Guests had the opportunity to snag delicious snacks while mingling with the Power of Youth students. Power of Youth was created through the United Way of Porter County Americorps Grant on December 6, 2007. The council consists of high school students that exhibit a passion for community through service and leadership. Each high school in Porter County is allotted three representatives on the council.
Four year Power of Youth member and Valparaiso High School Senior Luma Khabbaz stated, “Being on Power of Youth and the United Way Board has helped me give back to my community and see the progress we've made. It's also instilled a love for volunteering and non-profits that will follow me wherever I go in life.”
Recipients of the grants included: Hilltop Neighborhood House’s Healthy Choices Program, Boys & Girls Clubs of Porter County’s Diplomas 2 Degrees, Jacob’s Ladder Junior Board, and Empower Power County’s Empowered Youth Initiative. Each of these organizations have gone above and beyond in attempt to provide Porter County’s youth with the necessary resources to remain safe and successful. From literacy to substance abuse, these organizations address a range of pressing issues that are vital to combat.
“The Power of Giving is a great way to see all of power of youth's hard work throughout the year validated. We as a group have so much fun giving back and we love this opportunity to share our accomplishments with others,” said Three year Power of Youth member and Wheeler High School student Jenna Georgi. “Personally awarding the grants to the grantees is a satisfying way to end the year. This was a special year for Power of Youth and I'm so excited for the years to come!”
Porter County’s Power of Youth council includes: Derek Bertucci, Kiera Markham, Jenna Georgi, Josh Otero, Sara Hutton, Lyndsey Pratt, Anna Jones, Denis Ribordy, Luma Khabbaz, Austin Rocha, Kurt Kohler, Rachel Stoner, Kayla Malackowski, and Kelsey Vinzant.
In conclusion, the evening was a great opportunity to showcase the accomplishments of youth in our county, as well as the amazing works of organizations making a difference. Keep up the good work, Power of Youth!